Louisville Bicycle Club

100 Steep Ones — A Compilation of Notable Local Hills & Climbs

by , hill-climbing doyen and list-making fool


Listed below are my personal “100 Steep Ones” (give or take a few) in a somewhat loosely categorized listing. I started out with the idea of listing perhaps the top 20 climbs. Things got out of hand quickly, and here is the result, with 100 climbs listed!

The definition of a hill is pretty subjective, and my data mostly show the “meat” of a hill the main, steep portion of it as I see it. Sometimes, to give a better idea of the overall grade, I’ve also included the overall length of a hill and the overall average gradient. Other times, a particularly steep section will merit a special notation.

All the climbs listed are within 40-50 miles of metro Louisville, more or less, depending on how one arrives at said location. So, theoretically at least, they all can be worked into a long (century-distanced) ride from Louisville.

Close to home, along the Ohio River
Indian Hills Trail Off River Road, 1 mile east of Zorn Ave
Blankenbaker Lane Off River Road, 2 miles east of Zorn Ave. This climb tops out at Locust Grove.
Glenview Ave Off River Road, near Prospect
Lime Kiln Lane Off River Road, near Prospect
The knobs in and around Jefferson Memorial Forest
Barrallton Hill Barrallton Hill Rd is 2 miles east of KY 44 on Knob Creek Rd, or 2 miles west of Brooks Rd.
Brooks Hill (KY 1526) 4 miles east of KY 44 on Knob Creek Rd, turn right on Brooks Rd (KY 1526), cross the creek and the climb starts about mile around the bend.
Holsclaw Hill One mile from Fairdale on Mitchell Hill Rd, turn left on Holsclaw Hill Rd and start climbing in about mile up to Horine Reservation.
Jefferson Hill One mile from Fairdale on Mitchell Hill Rd, turn right on Keys Ferry Rd, then left in one mile to Jefferson Hill Rd. The long run-up makes this hill about 1 miles long in total.
Knob Creek the so-called backside of Mitchell Hill, on Knob Creek Rd from the Bullitt County side.
Martins Hill (KY 1417) Martins Hill Rd bears south off Knob Creek Rd, up Martins Hollow and Martins Hill near KY 44.
Mitchell Hill The climb starts about 1 miles from Fairdale, not long after the Jefferson Memorial Forest Visitor’s Center.
Pendleton Hill the north side of Barrallton Hill on Pendleton Rd
The Floyd’s Fork watershed in southeastern Jefferson County
Broad Run Rd Some calls this hill “Smiley Face Hill” from the graffito painted on the road some years back by a fund-raising ride. It has no meaning.
Dawson Hill north side southbound on Dawson Hill Rd from Brush Run Rd
Dawson Hill south side northbound on Dawson Hill Rd from Back Run Rd (KY 1115)
Old Taylorsville Rd (KY 2270) KY 2270 is one mile east of Fisherville and the hill starts not too far from KY 148.
Seatonville Rd westbound Seatonville Rd
Wibble Hill Rd The connector between Beckley Station and English Station roads just south of I-64.
Oldham County
Sleepy Hollow westbound KY 1694 heading from KY 329 (Covered Bridge Rd) toward KY 22. The climb starts at the Harrods Creek bridge.
Mayo Lane Short and steep hill off Rose Island Rd 3 miles north of US 42, east of Prospect.
Goshen Lane At the end of Rose Island Rd, east of Prospect (overall climb: 1 mi/226 ft: 4.3%)
Bohannon Lane off Eighteen-mile Creek Rd, Bohannon Lane climbs from 18-mile Creek up to US 42. The steep section is halfway up the hill, and is about 15%.
Covington Ridge off Pattons Creek Rd, Covington Ridge Rd (KY 1488) climbs from Pattons Creek up to KY 524.
Rebel Ridge off Eighteen-mile Creek Rd, Rebel Ridge Rd climbs from 18-mile Creek up to Bohannon Lane.
Smith Lane One mile north of US 42 off of KY 524 (Westport Rd), Smith Lane is a sharp little climb up toward US 42.
Henry County
KY 202 runs northeasterly from New Castle, the seat of Henry County, and where the road drops down into the Drennon Creek valley, there are four climbs to the ridges on either side of the valley.
Drennon Rd (KY 202) The main hill on westbound KY 202, just west of Bullitt Hill Rd, 5 miles from New Castle.
Bullitt Hill Rd On the south side of Drennon Creek where KY 202 drops down to the valley floor 5 miles out of New Castle.
Franklinton Rd On the opposite side of the valley from and just west of Troutman Hill, 9 miles from New Castle.
New Cut Rd A long and leisurely climb on the north side of the valley, across from Bullitt Hill. Five miles from New Castle.
Troutman Hill A wickedly steep hill starting from the picturesque Drennon Chapel 9 miles from New Castle. The steep portion near the start measures at 18.5% for about 600 feet (1/8 mile).
Mattox Ridge (KY 574) A nice, shaded climb from the Kentucky River up KY 574, off of KY 389 and 9 miles south of English and I-71.
Harpers Ferry Rd (KY 561) southbound KY 561 out of Lockport.
Leadmine Rd A sharp climb from Lockport toward the north up to KY 22. The initial, steep portion above the village is at an eye-popping 23%.
KY 22 west of Gratz westbound KY 22 crosses the Kentucky River at Gratz and climbs up the ridge above Lockport.
Trimble County
KY 1256 7 miles west of Milton and off of Coopers Bottom Rd along the Ohio River, KY 1256 takes a sharp climb to the ridgetop. The first 500 ft of the climb (1/10 mile) is graded at a leg-busting 18.8%!
Bells Ridge (KY 3176) 4 miles east of Bedford on US 42, Bells Ridge Rd climbs the ridge that lines the Little Kentucky River valley near the Carroll-Trimble county line.
Milton hill (US 421) A long slog on US 421 up the ridge from the river town of Milton, Ky., across from Madison, Ind.
Gills Ridge Gills Ridge Rd climbs from Wises Landing Rd at Middle Creek up toward US 42 and Bray Orchard (2 miles south of Bedford)
Morton Ridge Wises Landing Rd starts climbing the ridge as Morton Ridge Rd, which ends up at US 42 5 miles south of Bedford.
Buck Creek Rd Buck Creek climbs up the ridge lining the Little Kentucky River off Carlisle Rd (KY 1335) just west of the Trimble-Carroll county line.
Carroll County
Butler east side General Butler State Park, climb up to the park lodge from KY 227 side
Butler west side General Butler State Park, climb up to the park lodge from 11th St (back) side
KY 36 From Carrollton, go south on KY 227 and turn left on KY 36. The climb starts 2 miles from the turn.
Four-mile Rd Four miles east of Carrollton on US 42, turn right on Four-mile Rd. The climb starts about 2 miles south of US 42.
Whites Run Rd (KY 2949) Six miles east of Carrollton on US 42, turn right on Whites Run Rd (KY 2949). The climb starts about a mile south of US 42.
Bucks Run Rd (KY 1112) 1 miles south of Ghent on KY 47, turn right on Bucks Run Rd (KY 1112). The hill starts about 1 mile west.
Mound Hill (KY 549) One-half mile south of Prestonville on KY 55, turn right on Mound Hill Rd and start climbing.
Kings Ridge (KY 1226) A mile west of Prestonville turn left on US 42 then right on Kings Ridge Rd (KY 1226) in about mile. The climbing starts right away.
Fairview Ridge (KY 1492) Four miles west of Prestonville on KY 36, turn left on KY 1492, bear right in 1 miles and start climbing. The overall hill: 1.14 mi/425 ft, 7.1%.
Wrights Ridge 2 miles west of Prestonville on KY 36, turn left on Notch Lick Rd, then right on Wrights Ridge Rd and start climbing.
Old Gilgal Rd At Exit 43 off I-71, go south on KY 389 for mile, turn right on Old Gilgal Rd. Follow it under the railroad viaduct and start climbing in about mile.
Vance Rd At Exit 43 off I-71, go south on KY 389 one-half mile beyond English, turn right on KY 1465 then left on Vance Rd and start climbing.
Jackson Ridge 4 miles south of I-71 on KY 227, then east on KY 467 to Worthville, left on Jackson Rd. The first 500 ft once the climb gets serious measures at a can-you-top-it? 22%!
Stafford Ridge 1 miles east of Worthville on KY 467, left on Buffalo Creek Rd, then right to Stafford Ridge Rd.
Frankfort Area & the Kentucky River watershed
Choateville hill eastbound Benson Rd (KY 1005) just west of Choateville, the climb starts near the Benson Creek crossing.
Devil’s Hollow Rd West side of Frankfort, off Taylor Ave. It starts at the Kentucky River and tops out at the US 127 underpass.
Johnson Rd (KY 1263) The climb starts within sight of I-64 on the west bank of the Kentucky River above Frankfort’s Big Eddy area.
Hanley Lane (KY 2821) Hanley Lane climbs straight up the ridge that lines Glenns Creek near the Kentucky River off Glenns Creek Rd. North of Millville in Woodford County. The gradient of the first 300-400 feet is 16%.
Kentucky — the Rolling Fork River watershed
Colesburg hill KY 434 climbs up the Muldraugh escarpment starting from Colesburg in the Rolling Fork valley. Hardin County.
Edlin Rd 3 miles south of the Bluegrass Parkway off of KY 583, Edlin Rd climbs up the escarpment from the Rolling Fork valley toward Roanoke. Larue County.
KY 84 westbound KY 84 west of Howardstown, just into Larue County. On the TransAm route.
Miller Rd One-half mile north of the Bluegrass Parkway on KY 583, Miller Rd meanders along and crosses under the parkway at Youngers Creek, then climbs sharply up the ridge. Hardin County.
Lincoln Homestead southbound US 31E at the Lincoln Homestead State Park, 4 miles south of New Haven. Larue County.
Kentucky — the Beech Fork & Chaplin River watersheds
Pottershop Rd A series of three substantial climbs on this road that starts at the Beech Fork river bottom off of KY 605 makes up the stern test for the riders over the last 8 miles of the OKHT century. Five miles east of Bardstown on US 150, then 3 miles south on KY 605, turn right to Pottershop Rd. Nelson County.
Woodlawn Rd Two sharp hills on Woodlawn Rd as the road climbs up from the Beech Fork river bottom toward the little hamlet of Woodlawn and KY 605. These are the final hurdles for the riders on the OKHT 70-miler. Eight miles south of Bloomfield on KY 55 and turn right to Woodlawn Rd. The first climb is 4 miles from KY 55. Nelson County.
KY 55 northbound The long climb from the river at Woodlawn Rd toward the Bluegrass Parkway and Bloomfield. Nelson County.
KY 55 southbound The long climb from Maud toward Mooresville. Washington County.
Royalty Ridge Rd Climb from the Chaplin River at Tatham Springs up to Tatham Ridge Rd. Washington County.
Tatham Ridge Rd Climb from the Chaplin River at Tatham Springs up to KY 53. Washington County.
Tatham Springs This hill on KY 1796 (Pulliam- Fairview Rd) also climbs up from the Chaplin River and Glens Creek at Tatham Springs up to KY 1754. Washington County.
Kentucky — the Salt River watershed
Drydock Rd southbound Drydock Rd, south of KY 44. Anderson County. The initial pitch is a steep 18%.
Anderson City Rd southbound Anderson City Rd, south of KY 44. Anderson County. A short, steep section near the start of the hill measusres at 19%.
Bridgehill Rd (KY 53) southbound KY 53 from Glensboro, south of KY 44. Short and steep. Anderson County.
KY 55 southbound KY 55 south of Taylorsville, the climb begins shortly after crossing the Salt River bridge. Spencer County.
Elk Creek Rd (KY 1633) KY 44 west of Taylorsville, turn right after the Brashears Creek bridge, and go 2 miles. This hill is on the OKHT Return route on Sunday. Spencer County.
Lily Pike southbound KY 623 in western Spencer County, between KY 44 and KY 48. The steep section near the top is 7.5% for about 600 ft.
Hoagland Hill Rd westbound from Old Waterford Rd toward US 31E just inside Bullitt County. The overall grade is 6.3% over 2/3 of a mile.
Woodsdale Rd 3 miles west of US 150 near High Grove on KY 480, turn left on Woodsdale Rd and the climb starts shortly up a shaded hollow. Eastern Bullitt County.
Indiana Knobs (listed from the northeast to the southwest)
Leota hill W Leota Rd climbs from Leota up the knob toward New Philadelphia
Clark Forest Firetower One mile north of Henryville, Ind., on US 31. Follow signs for the firetower in Clark State Forest. The steep section at the start of the climb measures at a staggering 22% for about 500 ft.
Flatwood Rd westbound Flatwood Rd off Pixley Knob Rd, west of Henryville, Ind.
Pixley Knob northbound Pixley Knob Rd west of Henryville, Ind. Steep but short.
Bartle Knob westbound Bartle Knob Rd, west of Blue Lick (total climb: 1.13 mi/378 ft, 6.3%)
Daisy Hill Daisy Hill Rd climbs up from Borden on the north side of SR 60
Jackson Rd Jackson Rd climbs up the knob on the north side of SR 60 from behind Borden Elementary School in Borden.
Martinsburg Rd Take West St off SR 60 in Borden, which becomes Greenville- Borden Rd, and turn right on Martinsburg Rd. This climb from Borden is on the south side of SR 60.
Greenville- Borden Rd West St on the south side of SR 60 in Borden becomes Greenville-Borden Rd and climbs up the knob.
Dow Knob climb up to Floyds Knobs from SR 60 near Deam Lake (total: 1.05 mi/371 ft, 6.7%)
Dug Knob St. Joe Rd climbs up to Skyline Dr in Floyds Knobs from St. Joe Hill Church on SR 111 (becomes St. John’s Rd). The steep section among the switchbacks is over 18% in gradient.
Fairview Knob Fairview Knob Rd climbs west from SR 111 to Skyline Drive. Short but seriously steep.
Moser Knob northbound Green Valley Rd, which becomes Moser Knob Rd toward Skyline Drive. Consistently steep.
Spickert Knob At the New Albany city limit, turn to Glenmill Rd off Green Valley Rd just north of I-265, then right again to Spickert Knob Rd. The overall hill is 0.8 mi/366 ft, 8.0%.
Edwardsville hill SR 62 (Corydon Pike) 4 miles west of New Albany. Has a long run-up before the hill gets steep in the last mile (from the second railroad crossing to the top).
Blunk Knob off Budd Rd and 1 miles west of SR 111 on Five-mile Lane, 5 miles SW of New Albany. The first of several climbs over the ridges that line SR 111 and the Ohio River.
Farnsley Knob Seven miles SW of downtown New Albany, turn right on Seven-mile Rd and right again on Farnsley Knob Rd. One of many climbs from SR 111 up toward SR 11 southwest of New Albany, and this one is as steep as they come, with an initial pitch of over 22%!
Doolittle Hill Rd South of Bridgeport and Caesars casino. The switchback above the start is fear-inspiring at 18-20%. The top section eases up somewhat, but the entire hill between SR 111 and Lotticks Corner Rd still ranks as one of the toughest locally.
SR 211 hill The downhill on 211 is always fun, but the real accomplishment is in going up from SR 111 toward SR 11. Three miles south of Caesars casino southwest of New Albany.
Other Southern Indiana climbs
Tunnel Mill Rd westbound Three miles northeast of Charlestown, Ind., Tunnel Mill Rd climbs out of the 14-mile Creek bottoms.
Bethlehem to the north Bell St in Bethlehem becomes Miles Rd, which climbs up Doolittle Hollow toward PSI’s abandoned Marble Hill nuclear plant.
Bethlehem to the west Bethlehem- New Washington Rd is the main road to/from Bethlehem. The hill starts about 1 miles west of town.
Bethlehem to the south South of Bethlehem, Camp Creek- Bethlehem Rd becomes Flint Ridge Rd at the Charlestown- Bethlehem Rd turn-off. The hill starts shortly thereafter.
Bethlehem to the south South of Bethlehem, Charlestown- Bethlehem Rd tees off from Camp Creek- Bethlehem Rd, crosses Camp Creek and climbs up the ridge.

Revisions:

  • Jan 12, 2007: initial list of local hills, with many missing data
  • Jan 22, 2007: calculate the true gradients using javascript codes; fill in most of the missing data.
  • May 17, 2007: add Hoagland Hill (Bullitt Co.)
  • May 31, 2007: add Buck Creek Rd (Trimble Co.)


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web posted: 5 January 2007
last updated: 31 May 2007
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